Genetically modified foods are described as foods which are derived from the organisms whose DNA (genetic material) has been altered in a manner which does not transpire naturally. For example, the modification of the genetic material can be by introducing the genetic factor sourced from a different organism. The current genetically modified foods originate typically from the plants. However, it seems clear that in the coming years, the foods that are derived from GM animals or microorganisms are most likely to be presented on the market. Furthermore, most of the genetically modified crops in existence have been developed so as to better the yield (Freedman, 2013). This is done through increasing the tolerance of the herbicides or introducing the resistance to the disease of plants. Also, the genetic modification in the future could be aimed at altering the food’s nutrient content, improving the food production system efficiency and reducing the food’s allergenic prospective (Boccia & Sarnacchiaro, 2015). World Health Organization (WHO) demands that all the genetically modified foods must be assessed thoroughly before they are introduced in the market for consumption. This paper will mainly discuss the background, general issues and arguments surrounding the GM foods.
There are several opposing arguments in relation to the production of genetically modified foods. There are scientists who view GM foods as a blessing and of great significance to the human population while those who oppose it have their negative views (Freedman, 2013). However, one member of the organic sector stated that agricultural biotechnology is compared to a force: it is not inherently bad or good, the only thing that matters is how the individuals apply and use it. Still, the consumers who are green friendly still get many worrying reasons that the GM crops can lead the world into the dark days (Freedman, 2013). The proponents of GM crops state that technology is the most important and only means through which a global warming and rapidly growing population world can be fed. On the other hand, the critics argue that GM foods temper and destroy world nature which will have deadly effects in the future.
The Strengths and Weakness of the Arguments
To begin with, most of science on genetically modified food safety aligns in one direction. An economist of Berkeley environment and agriculture, David Zilberman claims that benefits of GM foods are more than the associated health risks (Boccia & Sarnacchiaro, 2015). The strength of the proponents of GM foods is that they highlight the benefits of GM foods in detail. For instance, Zilberman states that GM foods have increased the safety of the farmers by enabling them to use much less pesticide (Marques et al, 2015). It has also increased the output of cotton, corn and other crops by approximately 30%. Also, if this method had been applied globally, then the crop prices would be much lower thus fewer people could suffer from hunger.
Another strong point of the proponents (Zilberman), is that all these advantages will be visibly significant in the future given the estimation of the “United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization.” This organization approximates that the world will need to grow more than 70% of food by the year 2050 in order to accommodate the increasing population (Freedman, 2013). In addition, the global warming will limit the farming on the global arable land. Besides, Zilberman says that GM crops could increase the yields, grow in the salty and dry lands, withstand the low and high temperatures in addition to tolerating herbicides, diseases, and insects.
However, there is one weakness that the proponents of GM foods have. The supporters are only blinded by the benefits of GM crops and they forget to mention the dangers associated with the practice (Boccia & Sarnacchiaro, 2015). The proponents do not mention the risk of this practice on the environment. For instance, the seeds of GM crops travel past the field in which they are planted (Boccia & Sarnacchiaro, 2015). This can lead to cross-pollination which in turn creates the (super weeds) that resist herbicides. This acts as a threat to the other crops.
On the other hand, there are several strong points raised by the critics of GM crops. For instance, they argue that mixing the genes of plants can have serious effects on those with allergy, a good example is when the nuts from Brazil were crossbred with soybeans. Also, GMOs raise the antibiotic resistance thus medicines become ineffective (Marques et al, 2015). However, the argument of the GMOs critics has a weakness. They base many ideas and research on the risks without considering the benefits of GM foods. For instance, many African countries suffer from hunger, yet they have restricted the importation of GM crops to save lives. Even the medical researchers have stated that nothing in world can perfectly be (proved safe) (Marques et al, 2015). An individual can fail to take advantage of an important risk after attempting severally to find it, which is similar to the GM crops case.
From the discussion, it is logical to agree with the view or argument that supports the GM crops in the world. The first reason for the agreement is that GM crops can help to prevent hunger in the coming years. By 2050, global warming would have taken over, rendering the arable land infertile. This means that the growing population, approximately 10 billion will have to be fed on GM crops. Also, the foods can be tempered with to improve the texture and flavor, for instance, corn can be made sweeter, and pepper can be enhanced to be spicier. Besides, the scientists state that nothing in the world can be termed to be safe for consumption. This means that it is worth taking the risk and save thousands of billions of the population from hunger. Also, there is always research to find a solution, thus the risks of GMOs on the environment can be prevented through further study.